Please enjoy these photos of my Mom before she makes me take them down!
Today is her [redacted] birthday, and I selfishly want to share with you some of the photographic evidence of her sustaining love and support throughout my life. Luckily I look a lot like her, or you might doubt how a quiet and self-effacing woman could raise such a loudmouth, or how an incredibly creative artisan could raise someone who can’t knit a scarf in a straight line, or how a talented musician could raise someone who can’t sing or play a note.
I’ve probably told this story on this blog before, but one of the crucial lessons she taught me was when I was about 6 and a neighbor kid was trying to scare me with a snake he had caught. Mom pointed out that all he wanted was a reaction, and if I laughed, he’d go away. I did, and he did, and thus I received my first lesson in dealing with corporate defense counsel!
She tolerated my insufferable picky eating, and eventually taught me to enjoy food from around the world. One of our continuing joys is visiting and finding new and interesting restaurants in DC, Denver, or other destinations.
She was an important part of making me the proud nerd that I am today, reading to us and teaching us throughout our kidhood, and storming the high school and eventually taking over the English Lit education of a handful of us when the school persisted in thinking 10th graders didn’t need to read literature. She initially thought a linguistics major was impractical, but I’m pretty sure she’s glad I can appreciate her bilingual puns and other language nerd jokes.
Possibly because she grew up as a Jewish girl in largely Christian/WASP DC, she taught us to be proud of our mixed heritage and to be open to those of others. I have never, ever, known her to show prejudice to any group or person — a statement few of any age can make.
Also I got to meet Mstislav Rostropovich — in our very own living room!
Ultimately, she taught me to be independent and was the home I came home to after my independent adventures.
Happy Birthday, Mom, and so much love. And onward to more travel, adventures, reading, creativity, and excellent restaurants.
And here’s the photo that proves we were really a Soviet spy family all along: